Flight review: Air NZ Auckland to Ho Chi Minh City NZ269

First up had to check we were on the right flight, SGN sounded suspiciously like Singapore, before I clicked – we’re going to Saigon.

The plane: Boeing 767-300. Two seats on the sides, three across the middle. Interior looks 90s but all clean and tidy.

The seat: About row 30, middle, isle. A colleague had suggested we book the two outer seats of a middle row, leaving the middle seat empty. When we arrived on the plane a man is sitting in the middle seat, but thankfully the plan worked and he was just trying to get a row to himself and moved back to his allocated seat. I was quite comfortable, but my colleague had the passenger in front put his seat right back after takeoff.

How full: At least 3/4 full

The food: Pleasantly surprised. I had the slow cooked beef with rice and there was also a chicken option. Can’t remember dinner but dessert was Kapati chocolate icecream.

The entertainment: Standard Air NZ touch screen entertainment system. Good selection of TV and movies – I caught up on Portlandia, New Girl, Big Bang Theory, and enjoyed Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It was a shame to only have two episodes of The Night Manager.

The facilities: Pillow and blanket provided for the flight. I was hoping for some socks or a hot towel, but it isn’t Singapore Airlines. Restrooms were a little difficult to hold the tap down while trying to wash your hands.

The service: Excellent cabin crew, who we were lucky enough to have again on NZ268 back to Auckland two days later. Flight was delayed leaving by half an hour due to late inbound connecting flights (I was on one). It is quite a long flight at 12.5 hours, but you’re rewarded with a 10.5 hour trip home.

The bottom line: Being able to fly (almost) direct to Ho Chi Minh was the difference between going or not, for our two night stay. The flight times were very convenient, leaving around lunchtime, then arriving ~8pm local time; and the return flight leaving at 10pm (good flight to sleep on). I enjoyed this brief trip to Saigon and I’m sure will be back one day!

Next time I might consider paying extra for the fast track visa on arrival service at SGN, as it wasn’t great waiting around for an hour for a Visa stamp.

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